Biography – US


Fot. Aleksander Bakinowski

Adam Makowicz was born of Polish parents in Czechoslovakia, in 1940, and raised in Poland since the age of six. Educated in classical music initially by his mother, a pianist and a singer, then attended music schools in Rybnik, Katowice and Krakow until the age of sixteen, when he discovered JAZZ through the Willis Conover’s “Music USA-Jazz Hour” broadcasts. The rhythm and freedom of improvisation in this music fascinated him so much that Jazz claimed his whole interest and devotion from that time on. His parents insisted that he become a classical pianist, his school did not allow him to play “that music”, since jazz was then considered illegitimate, decadent music, so he left home and school to be able to play jazz. ” After two years of homeless, hand-to-mouth existence, he found an “underground’ jazz club in Krakow, where I played, practiced or thought about jazz 24 hours a day”, he says.

Learning first by listening closely to the broadcasts and rare recordings of such greats like Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, Fats Waller, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Teddy Wilson, Bill Evans, Benny Goodman, and many others, Makowicz developed his own inimitable style and technique. His hard work, passion and dedication eventually paid off as his performances and recordings, that he began making in the mid-sixties, brought him a great deal of popularity and critical acclaim.

By the time he was invited by John Hammond to New York, for a 10-week engagement and the recording of the solo album called “Adam” by CBS Columbia in 1977, the pianist had performed worldwide and had already made 26 albums, earning the votes of the “Jazz Forum” magazine readers as Europe’s # 1 Jazz Pianist for six years in row.

In 1978 he received a longer contract, which allowed him to fulfill his dream of returning to New York, the “Capital of Jazz”. Since then he has recorded over twenty new albums/compact discs, which received wide acclaim, especially “Naughty Baby” by RCA/Novus (his tribute to George Gershwin), his four recordings by the Concord Jazz, and two CDs by VWC Records.

He appeared, solo or with jazz groups, at major jazz clubs, concert halls and international jazz festivals in the U.S. , Canada, Europe, and, more recently, in Peru. Makowicz shared the stage with such greats as Earl “Fatha” Hines, Sara Vaughan, Teddy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Marian McPartland, George Shearing, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Herbie Hancock, Billy Taylor, Freddie Hubbart, and many others.

He was also invited to play as a guest soloist with many symphony orchestras, including the US National Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Metropole Orchestra from Amsterdam, the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Philharmonic of Poland, to name the few.

His performances and recordings have generated countless rave reviews and the enthusiasm of audiences all over the world.

When Makowicz publicly denounced the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981, he was barred from traveling to Poland or any other East-European country for eight years.

In 1989, following the political changes in Poland, Makowicz received a Polish passport and since then has been performing there every year, solo and with various orchestras, realizing his project of promoting the music of American composers; he also plays there other composers’ works in his arrangements, and his own compositions.

Adam Makowicz considers himself primarily a pianist, but he is also a remarkable arranger and composer of many works.